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German Union Throws Support Behind UAW Plans for VW Plant

Works council leader says UAW vote at Chattanooga tainted.

by on Jun.02, 2014

Frank Patta, general secretary, Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, told the United Auto Workers Constitutional Convention today the council will continue to support the UAW’s efforts to organize workers in Chattanooga.

A top leader at Volkswagen’s Global Works Council told UAW delegates today that council is committed to the United Auto Workers efforts to unionize workers at Volkswagen AG’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Frank Patta, general secretary, Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, told the 1,100 delegates to the United Auto Workers Constitutional Convention today in Detroit that the VW council will continue to support the UAW’s efforts to organize workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga.

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“We want people to have a strong voice and that is why we will continue to work for a strong union and works council in Chattanooga,” said Patta, whose remarks were translated into English from German for delegates. “This is because without the union and works council the workers are at the mercy of management. This is the model that we want to see applied in the U.S. and in Chattanooga.” (more…)

Auto Talks Begin: Future on the Line for Both Big Three and UAW

Makers must satisfy workers while remaining competitive.

by on Jul.25, 2011

Not this time. The UAW is barred from striking GM and Chrysler and hasn't walked out at Ford in decades.

With smiles and handshakes for the cameras, negotiators for the United Auto Workers Union and Chrysler Corp. will today begin the challenging task of coming up with a new contract for more than 20,000 hourly U.S. autoworkers. Later this week, the situation will repeat itself at both Ford and General Motors.

The scene may be familiar – occurring every three to four years for the last three-quarters of a century – but seldom has so much been riding on the outcome.  Still struggling to emerge from the domestic auto industry’s worst downturn since the Great Depression, the viability of Detroit’s Big Three is a lot less certain than recent profits might suggest.  But the UAW itself has to worry about the future.

Consider Chrysler where there are now about 23,000 UAW-represented workers – a decline of nearly 50,000 in less than a decade.  A recent filing with the federal government revealed total membership dropped to 376,612 at the end of 2010 – including union-represented jobs in non-automotive industries.  The UAW’s ranks peaked in 1979, when it counted 1.53 million dues-paying members.

“The current situation is not sustainable,” warns Harley Shaiken, a long-time student of the UAW and a professor at the University of California – Berkley.

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So, both sides know that their fates may ride on what happens between now and mid-September, when talks are scheduled to wrap up.  The question is whether these negotiations can produce settlements that keep Detroit competitive while also satisfying the workers who will eventually have to approve the agreements.  What we may see, many observers are betting, will be contracts that contain expanded profit-sharing packages that more closely link workers’ remuneration to the health of the automakers than ever before.


Will UAW Accept More Profit Sharing?

As union opens pre-bargaining conference, automakers set their own strategy.

by on Mar.23, 2011

UAW President Bob King has a tough round of negotiations coming up.

After granting billions of dollars in concessions to help Detroit makers survive the U.S. auto industry’s worst downturn in decades, union workers are looking for some givebacks when they return to the bargaining table this year.  But they may have to share the risks, rather than simply get the enhanced pay and benefits workers could have traditionally expected, observers caution.

The United Auto Workers Union’s senior leaders are gathered in Detroit, this week, to lay out their demands – and work out strategy to go up against makers who are now pushing back into the black while still professing serious financial problems.

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The challenge for the UAW’s new President Bob King will be to navigate a narrow path that would make workers happy, keep Detroit’s Big Three healthy – and head off a potential confrontation that could sour what has become the most positive working relationship between labor and management since the union gained a seat at the table, following the angry confrontations of the 1920s and ‘30s.

“It’s not going to be easy for Bob,” said a well-placed union source asking for anonymity prior to the start of the UAW convention.  “He clearly understands that the auto companies are not out of the woods.  But he also knows he can’t go back to workers and expect them to approve contracts that don’t make up some of their losses.”